Learning how to cook requires dedication, patience, and a willingness to eat the batches that aren’t quite ready for prime time. Learning new techniques for cooking is a life-long learning experience and your education begins here. We’ve compiled a few tips to help you on your way to cooking success.
The prep work comes first. Before you start making your food, it is a good thing to have everything prepared. When you have a schedule as to how long you plan to be cooking, things can get a little stressful in the kitchen. Prep work helps take the stress out of meal planning and preparing.
Cook your rice in vegetable or chicken stock instead of using water. Choosing a stock will add both extra taste and valuable nutrients. The cooking process and time are the same as with water, so you won’t be adding any extra work by trying this method.
After you have cooked a meal for someone, never rush them into eating as you should always take your time and engage in conversation to give your body a chance to digest. Part of the meal is the smells and aromas it gives off while the other part is your actual consumption.
If you are cooking pastries or foods that can get very messy, make sure that you wear an apron at all times. The last thing that you will want to do is to get food on your clothes and have to change before you eat your meal with friends or family.
One of the greatest things that you can do is to cook with family members or friends. When you cook with someone else, you will be able to pick up on tricks that they implement and will be able to better yourself as a cook. Talk to them to see how their thought process works, to elevate your expertise.
Do a little research and find out if there is a farmers’ market within shopping distance. These markets – usually held on a weekly basis – are your ticket to purchasing the very freshest ingredients available. Treat food from a farmers’ market with respect; usually, the less cooking you do to such ingredients, the better-tasting the results will be.
If burgers get stuck to the grill, it will be difficult to flip them without mangling them in the process. To avoid this possibility, you can apply a light coat of vegetable oil to the grill before cooking.
If you must use oil in your cooking, choose extra virgin oil to reduce the amount of saturated fat in your dish. Oil and butter provide a lot of un-needed fat. A nonstick cooking spray will suffice and is not as unhealthy.
An easy way to skin nuts. When used in cooking, nuts such as almonds and pistachios need their skins removed. Blanch the nuts by boiling them in a pan of water for one minute. Drain the nuts, and place them on a clean dishtowel. Fold the dish towel over the nuts, and rub vigorously. The skins will rub off onto the towel.
When you are going to purchase beef, make sure that the package does not have too much liquid in it. An excessive amount of liquid may indicate that the beef was not stored properly or that it is no longer good. Make sure you always check the expiration date as well.
For the best cooking results, spices have to be replaced after six months. Spices do not last forever. They will eventually lose their flavor. When you have to buy certain spices for specific dishes, be sure to give some of the spice away to a family or friend, if you do not plan on using all of it, before it will go bad.
After you have cut up meats on your counter, be sure to thoroughly wipe the counters and chopping boards down with a disinfectant. You need to disinfect knives also. Keep separate chopping boards for uncooked and cooked foods. Many people get salmonella poisoning each year because they ingested food that was prepared on an unclean counter or chopping board. This is especially important if you prepare food for children or the elderly.
Sprinkle salt liberally into the boiling water that is used to cook pasta. This allows the seasoning to soak into the pasta, which will retain its flavor. If you try to salt the pasta after it is already cooked it will not hold the seasoning as well.
The best part of cooking is that you can eat your mistakes. Don’t be scared about trying something new. Even Julia Childs and Wolfgang Puck have made complete failures of dishes at one point or another. Cooking is all about learning and experimentation until you learn what works for you, so give it a shot!